Faulk injury could force LSU to shift players along front
The LSU offensive line will be a man short when the Tigers face Washington on Saturday night at Tiger Stadium.
Standout left tackle Chris Faulk, whose start against North Texas in the season opener marked the 16th of his career, suffered an undisclosed injury at practice this week and will not play against the Huskies.
“It looks like Faulk’s got a bit of an injury,” LSU coach Les Miles said Wednesday after practice. “We don’t know exactly how bad, but we hope to return him to the game sometime soon. I don’t know the specifics there.”
Filling the void at left tackle could take some reshuffling, but Miles said the Tigers have a few options.
One option is simply plugging jack-of-all-trades backup Josh Dworaczyk, who has 26 career starts at left guard, into Faulk’s position. Another is having Dworaczyk play left guard and slide sophomore La’el Collins — the top offensive tackle prospect in the nation two years ago — over to left tackle.
Or the Tigers could move right tackle Alex Hurst to left tackle and have freshman Vadal Alexander play right tackle.
“We’re kind of operating with the idea that we’re really moving guys around right now to give them a multiple feel for the position,” Miles said. “No decision is going to be made right now as of how we’ll go Saturday, but we feel pretty comfortable that we’ll be good there.”
Miles said Faulk’s latest injury was not related to the one that forced the 6-6, 325-pound junior from Slidell to miss a significant portion of fall camp.
Barrow leads LBs in opener
Lamin Barrow started only two games his first two seasons at LSU, but the former John Ehret standout was one of the Tigers’ defensive stars for the Tigers in last week’s win.
Barrow led LSU with eight tackles and earned the team’s defensive MVP award, helping set the tone for a defense that forced North Texas into five straight three-and-outs in the first half while also doing his part on special teams.
“Lamin not only played very well in special teams, but played very well at linebacker in two (linebacker) spots,” Miles said. “His coaching is evident. He’s a very physical presence. He’s making all the right angles to the ball, which is really what we really need from him.”
Barrow and Luke Muncie got starting nods on the outside against North Texas, with returning starter Kevin Minter lined up at middle linebacker. Projected starter Tahj Jones, whose eligibility is in question as a result of unspecified academic issues, missed the opener while waiting for a decision on an appeal.
Miles had no update Wednesday on Jones’ status.
Ware ready to go
Miles said junior running back Spencer Ware, who did not take a snap in the North Texas game, has practiced every day this week. Ware missed most of preseason camp with an injury.
“He practiced all of last week as well,” Miles said. “But I feel like his health is much better.”
Watch the tight end
A key to Washington’s success this weekend could be the play of sophomore tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, a matchup nightmare for defenses who measures 6-foot-6, 266 pounds and possesses great athleticism.
Seferian-Jenkins had a career-high nine catches for 82 yards in last week’s 21-12 win against San Diego State after making 10 starts as a freshman.
“He has great size and has real ball skills,” Miles said. “It’s going to be difficult even to man him up with a small linebacker. You have to play physical and make sure there’s somebody on him to contest the throw.”
Seferian-Jenkins played in 17 games last year for Washington’s Pac-12 champion basketball team.
Crystal ball comes to town
The prize Miles and his Tigers hope to bring home in January will make an appearance in the Baton Rouge area this weekend.
The crystal Coaches’ Trophy, given to the BCS national champion, will stop at the Walmart in Port Allen from 1-3 p.m. Friday before continuing to the Walmart on College Drive from 4-6 p.m. The stop by the crystal ball is part of the trophy’s season-long tour of college campuses.
In addition to the two Walmart appearances, the trophy will be displayed at Tiger One Village near Tiger Stadium from 2-5 p.m. Saturday.
Fans are welcome to take pictures of the trophy at all three stops.